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Van Roekel: A Historic Victory for Our Children

U.S. Senate Passes Health Care Reform Legislation

WASHINGTON - March 25, 2010 -

The U.S. Senate today passed historic health care reform legislation that will benefit millions of Americans. This legislation will open the door to health care possibilities for millions of children and their families who never before had access. NEA believed all along that a nation as great as ours could provide health care coverage to the more than 32 million among us who currently are uninsured, without unfairly penalizing or putting the burden on the backs of working families.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“Nearly three years ago, the 3.2 million members of the NEA vowed to help elect candidates that would make it possible for 32 million more Americans – including 8 million more children – to have access to quality, affordable health care. 

“Now, after more than 100,000 e-mails to Congress and President Obama through the NEA Legislative Action Center; nearly 1,000 congressional visits by NEA board members; over 20,000 phone calls to targeted congressional offices; and more than 20,000 handwritten postcards delivered to the Hill; we got it done. We got it done for the 8 million uninsured children in this country. We got it done for every member—school custodian, bus driver, school nurse, teacher, professor, student educator and retired educator. 

“Today, after the Senate passed the reconciliation health care reform bill, we are that much closer to our dream being realized.  For all of our members who wrote those e-mails and postcards, called their members of Congress, and lobbied their members personally, this vote should be a personal victory. We thank you for your efforts.

“Our 3.2 million members declare victory today. We know that the House will once again do the right thing to make these fixes a reality. No longer do we have to live with the status quo. As educators, on limited incomes, the cost of health care can be scary and stressful.  One educator, Leigh E. from Omaha, NE can declare victory today. No longer will she need to worry that her son’s broken foot or other injury will cost them outrageous fees. Another educator, Melissa R. from Florida, will no longer need to see her young students come to school sick or without the proper vaccinations. Health care reform legislation will make it possible for her students to breathe easier now that their classmates will have access to a doctor when ill.

“We continued on this journey with President Obama and Congress because of their principles of hope and change. They have delivered and now our 3.2 million members have hope that their students will come to school more ready to learn with a healthier outlook on life. This change wasn’t easy. Our members worked tirelessly to encourage their members of Congress to vote for health care reform. It was the right thing to do and we are so pleased that Congress was finally able to get it done. Now we will redirect our efforts to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing
3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Samantha Kappalman  (202) 822-7823,